Teacher-student Relationship In 21st Century

Blog 4876

“There is no recipe to be a great teacher, that's what is unique about them”. 
                                                                                                    - Robert Sternberg

Relationships are as essential to teaching as the flour in the cake. The reason that we often fail to appreciate the importance of relationships is that we have inherited misconceptions about teaching, about learning and about the nature of the mind. For thousands of years, people have theorized about the mind and about learning and drawn conclusions about the nature of teaching. The earlier concepts we have of mind are of the psyche, a Greek word for breath, because of the observed relationship between breathing and life.
Teachers cannot force learning to happen any more than you can speed the growth of a plant by pulling on it. Learning must be constructed by the learner. The best we can do to help students learn is to connect what we say to their previous experiences and knowledge.  In short, we help students construct meaning from our words. Teaching is inherently interactive because it depends on making connections with an active, growing mind.
Important aspects of a Teacher-Student Relationship:

· Many students need to feel that above all, their instructors care about them.
· Conflicts and frustrations are part of any relationships.
· Working through frustration can develop and enrich the quality of the relationship.

Teacher as Facilitator 

· The relationship between teacher and learners can be viewed as a set of filters, interpretive screens or expectations that determine the effectiveness of interaction between them.
· Effective teachers form relationships that are trustful, open and secure, that involve a minimum of control, are cooperative, and are conducted in a reciprocal, interactive manner.
· They share control with students and encourage interactions that are determined by mutual agreement.
· With such relationships, learners are more attentive, ask more questions, and are more actively engaged.
Essential qualities for the teachers to develop and establish a good rapport with students:

  • Empathy                           
  • Honesty                            
  • Enthusiasm                               
  • Punctuality                        
  • Motivation                                  
  • Impartiality
  • Orderliness                       
  • Perseverance                            
  • Integrity                             
  • Flexibility                                    
  • Moral values                      
  • Optimism
  • Encouragement 

Paradigm of Student-Teacher Relationship

The relationship between student and teacher, if it is to be maximally productive, must reflect certain attitudes and commitments of each to the other. 

Specifically, three elements must exist in a student’s relationship to a teacher.

First, the student must respect his or her teacher and hold him in the highest esteem, for this is a necessary prerequisite to accepting his advice. Regarding someone who is only giving factual information, and not assuming the role of mentor, this condition becomes less critical.

Secondly, the student must trust the teacher’s concern. The student must believe that the teacher always has his or her best interest in mind. If the student would sense some ulterior motive, some self interest, or even carelessness in the teacher’s instruction, he or he would not be able to surrender wholeheartedly to the teacher’s advice, and this would make the entire exchange meaningless.

Finally, the student must commit himself/herself to follow the instruction with utmost discipline, for only then can the intended effect be realized.

The teacher also has the responsibility to his students in relation to giving advice: 

The first is a fulfillment of the pre-requisite of getting to know his students individually, to probe the innermost depths of their hearts as well as examining the outer details of their lives. As the familiarity grows, so the potency of his advice deepens proportionately.

Secondly, the teacher must express love and affection toward his students. It is this affection that dissolves the students’ natural tendency to resist being told what to do. Thus, the advice can penetrate more deeply and effectively.


The teacher must take time to reflect upon his students’ progress, refining and adjusting his vision of how best to influence them toward positive change. 

 “Knowing is not enough; we must apply.

Willing is not enough; we must do”.   ---  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

- Dr. Sreepriya Ashok, Academic Consultant, CEP Global